EDGERTON — Clayton Jenny and his teammates enjoy watching their opponents squirm.
To say that the Edgerton boys basketball team takes pride in its defense would be an understatement. The Tide have held 10 of their 16 opponents this season under 50 points, and those opponents entered Tuesday night averaging less than 46 points per game.
Jefferson became the latest victim. A 19-3 run to close the first half was plenty enough for the Crimson Tide, who won a Rock Valley Conference game 67-45.
“For sure I get a little grin out of it,” said Jenny, a junior guard who delivered 17 points, when asked if he likes to make other teams work for 36 minutes. “And I know coach (Daryl) Fox definitely does. He’s always stressing defense to us, and that’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Edgerton (12-4, 9-3 RVC) led just 18-17 with seven minutes left in the first half but allowed just one bucket the rest of the way and was up 37-20 by the time the break arrived.
“Our defense was leading to our offense; we were getting out on the court and finding some space,” Fox said. “Number one, they can’t play if they don’t play defense. But number two is our guys make it uncomfortable for the other team. It’s hard to play offense when you’re uncomfortable.”
Indeed, during that seven-minute stretch, the Eagles were 1 of 6 from the field, just 1 of 5 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over two times.
“They went on that big run there to end the half,” Jefferson coach Greg Jeffries said. “That put us in a big hole.”
In that same span, against a zone defense, the Tide were 7 of 7 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“We have so many big weapons on the offensive side that a lot of teams like to go zone against us,” Jenny said. “But we have shooters, and when you have a big dude like (Nick) Spang who sits in the middle, it opens things up.”
Spang, a 6-foot-8 senior, made his final eight shot attempts after missing his first to tie a game-high with 18 points.
Jefferson (6-10, 5-7) senior James Monogue also had 18 points, on 5 of 18 shooting. He was the only Eagles player in double figures.
They got within 11 points twice in the second half, including with a little more than seven minutes left in the game. The Tide used a 13-2 run to slam the door.
“Our mindset is one possession at a time to try and chip away in the second half, and we did that,” Jeffries said. “But they made some big shots, some big 3s and rebounded the ball well.
“You’re not going to get anything easy against Edgerton.”
Brian Rusch added 13 points for the Tide, who play at Clinton on Friday. Jefferson plays at second-place Beloit Turner.
EDGERTON 67, JEFFERSON 45
Eagles 20 25 — 45
Crimson Tide 37 30 — 67
Jefferson — Miller 1-0-3, Rechlin 2-2-6, E. Stelse 1-0-2, Fetherston 2-0-5, C. Stelse 1-0-2, Monogue 5-7-18, Vogel 3-3-9. Totals — 15-12-45.
Edgerton — Krause 1-1-3, Jenny 6-3-17, Hanson 2-0-5, Coombs 1-1-4, Rusch 5-0-13, Gullickson 2-0-5, Norland 0-2-2, Spang 8-2-18. Totals — 25-10-67.
3-point goals — J (Miller, Fetherston, Monogue) 3; E (Rusch 3, Jenny 2, Hanson, Coombs) 7. Free throws missed — J 10, E 5. Total fouls — J 13, E 19.